Here are nine sketches of scenes and men drawn at the front lines by Sgt. Howard Brodie during the Army’s final battle against the groggy Japanese defenders.

howard brodie guadalcanalYANK’s staff combat artist, Sgt. Howard Brodie, completed the sketches on this and the following three pages at Guadalcanal on Feb. 9, the day the last Japanese resistance on the island ended. By that time, Brodie was as tired as the jungle fighter in his portrait at the left. He had been working for weeks at the front under difficulties that would have forced most artist to throw away their pencils and pads in despair.

howard brodie guadalcanal

Sgt. Brodie at work on Guadalcanal.

Brodie sketched most of his pictures in fox holes, CPs, dressing stations and artillery positions. He was never able to complete a drawing without being interrupted by air raids, mortar bursts and Japanese snipers who seemed to delight in taking pot shots at him just when he was beginning to concentrate on his model. “I don’t know which was worse—the snipers or the bugs,” he says. “I think I was bitten by every insect on the island.”

After he did his original sketch on the front lines, Brodie would take it back to the tent he shared with Sgt. Mack Morriss, the YANK staff correspondent who works with him in the South Pacific area. There he would darken and finish the drawing. Brodie did all his sketches in pencil on thin paper and, by the time the fighting ended, most of his pencils were short, one-inch stubs.

Soldiers from California are probably familiar with Brodie’s drawings. He was a staff artist on the San Francisco Chronicle for seven years before enlisting in the Army last August. He was training to be a message-center clerk with the Signal Corps at Camp Crowder when he was transferred to YANK.

Two days after the fighting on Guadalcanal stopped, Morriss and Brodie left the island to try to gain back some of their recently lost weight before proceeding to their next assignment.

“I wouldn’t have missed Guadalcanal for anything,” Brodie said. “But I was damned glad to leave the place.”

howard brodie guadalcanal

howard brodie guadalcanal

howard brodie guadalcanalhoward brodie guadalcanalhoward brodie guadalcanalhoward brodie guadalcanalhoward brodie guadalcanalhoward brodie guadalcanal

For More Reading on Howard Brodie Check Out:

Drawing Fire: A Combat Artist at War : Pacific Europe Korea Indochina Vietnam

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